How The Pioneer Woman's Husband Helped In Her Weight-Loss Journey

They say that behind every successful woman is a cowboy rancher in a neck brace, and in the case of The Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond, they're exactly right (via The Pioneer Woman blog). The celebrity chef and de facto ranch hand credits her Marlboro Man (husband Ladd Drummond) at least in part for her success in achieving a happier, healthier lifestyle. "I wailed and complained," Drummond says of her daily regimen of lunges, squats, and straight-leg deadlifts. "But since I had a husband with a broken neck, I mostly kept it to myself." It was Ladd Drummond who Ree turned to when her weight loss plateaued, about six weeks into the venture, and he reminded her that he knows as much about calf raises as calf-raisin' when he told Ree that the only way to burn more calories was to build more muscle.

The broken neck part is no exaggeration. Earlier this year, Drummond shared on her website the dramatic incident that led to Ladd's neck brace: a truck accident on the ranch that occurred as Ladd and his nephew attempted to extinguish a wildfire with their fellow ranchers. It turns out that cowboys have a stiff upper vertebra when it comes to injuries – Ladd drove himself to the hospital following the crash but wound up having to have surgery to stabilize the fractures in his neck. These days, the cowboy is in recovery mode (even getting an okay from the family doctor to take off his neck brace for key moments of their daughter's recent wedding, according to The Pioneer Woman blog), and as he slowly takes on more ranch chores, he's also doubling as Ree's personal trainer.

Drummond's husband is a coach and fan rolled into one

Drummond – Ree Drummond – makes it clear that no one thing has helped her lose weight over the past few months. In a recent blog post documenting the ongoing journey, she credits her standing desk, daily exercise, and abstaining from alcohol among the crucial elements of her weight loss. But, Drummond emphasizes, the results she is looking for are not about numbers on a scale. "As of today, I've lost 43 pounds. I hesitate to even say that number because for me, the way I feel today, it isn't about the weight loss ... it's more about how I feel after a few months of regular exercise, more moving, and more mindful eating."

And though the practice will continue, the verdict is already in: Drummond feels great. "I mostly just think about how much better I feel every day and feel grateful that I've made it over the hump," Drummond explains. Plus, she notes slyly, her husband-slash-personal-trainer has not yet tired of being asked to feel her glutes or notice her stronger, firmer thigh muscles. Which means that despite the broken neck, Ladd Drummond is probably feeling pretty great, too.